Eryn Lynum’s sparkling eyes and broad smile captivated me. I wanted to sit at the same table with this soon-to-be-published author. I wanted to bask in her enthusiasm and soak in a bit of her knowledge. I hoped to discover the secret of a successful website. How did she finally break through as a writer? What happened to cause her to say to herself, “I am a writer. I can do this.”
Here I sat, having lunch at a conference put on by Heart of America Christian Writers Network. Stories of other writers bore a familiar resemblance to mine. Eager to learn, I felt as though I were in college again. Did I dare acknowledge that God truly had a plan for the words wafting through my brain? Could God really want me to venture out in obedience? Of course, I knew the answer was a resounding, “Yes.” This wasn’t the first time I’d felt compelled to pursue a life-long dream. Excitement grew. Perhaps I could call myself a “real” writer. I listened. I took notes. I noticed.
“…and he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are…”
During that weekend of risk-taking, I connected with Max in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. 1 Oh, how I can relate even today! Nights and days; weeks and years – sailing in and out of writing; learning more; writing snippets of fun and memories for family members; designing creative units for children and teachers; completing camp devotions or Sunday school curriculum; knowing a message was inside ready to be shared; even feeling a “calling.” In and out of time. Days and nights. Weeks and years. Yet, never allowing myself to be called “Author”; never as Max might say, being the king of the rumpus!
Unfortunately, I’d always allow the wild things to control. My wild things? Doubting ability, Comparisons, Busyness, Lack of time — And then, the elephant in the door — the massive trumpeting ogre: perfectionism laced with technology. Oh, I was skilled in using computers. Unfortunately, creating a website was time-consuming as it presented a fresh new learning curve. I became easily frustrated at taking precious time from writing to design a website of worth. The website roared its terrible roar, gnashed its terrible teeth, rolled its terrible eyes, and showed its terrible claws until, like Max, I said, “BE STILL!” And I tamed it with my magic trick of staring.
In reality, my magic trick really possessed no magic at all. Like Max, I stared directly at those monsters and commanded, “Be Still.” Fearful of attending a conference of “real” writers, (one of those monsters in disguise) I had prayed for weeks, “God show my why I’m even going. Show me what you want me to get from this.”
So here I sat. At a table with Eryn Lynum, a petite young mother of three boys. Her book, 936 Pennies, was to be published soon. Her new success intrigued me; I listened closely. She spoke of her website and its value to her as a writer. I ventured my disdain and frustration as I revealed my floundering attempts. Sure I had a “site,” but it wasn’t good enough. The very technology which blurred my eyes and discouraged my creativity inspired life in Eryn. Before I knew it, Eryn — mother, wife, author, and technologically-savvy lady –asked, “Would you like me to help you with your website? I love doing websites!” Would I ever!! In no time, I saw an answer to one of my prayers. We agreed to meet within the month.
It’s interesting how life unfolds. God certainly does work in mysterious ways to teach us patience, restraint, and rest in Him. Eryn had some bumps in her schedule. After our initial visit, we put the website aside for a while. In fact, I wasn’t sure it would happen. My 1975 copy of Catherine Marshall’s Adventures in Prayer2 is dog-eared and marked. I opened the book to read two well-known chapters: “The Prayer that Makes Dreams Come True” and “The Prayer of Relinquishment.” Good reminders pointing to the God’s truths; I needed to momentarily take a step back and wait.
Journal, January 11, 2016 … I read I Corinthians 2:1-5 and then I wrote:
My dream of writing – Your dream for me to write for you
I’m scared. I procrastinate. Like Paul, I don’t have eloquence. I feel so inadequate.
So, while I wait for it to take shape, I’ll choose to just get to know you better.
I want readers – someday – to see your Holy Spirit power.
I approach writing with fear and trembling.
I have no wise and persuasive words.
I do have you.
I let God know I was willing to give up the website, give up the publications, give up the eloquence. Why? Because “I do have you, God, and that is enough.”
January 21 – Just ten days later, Eryn writes in an email, “I have good news—I would like to take on your website 🙂 My husband and I have been working on building up our web design and marketing business, and creating websites for writers (and speakers and bloggers) is something we want to move into. I still have all of our notes from our meeting …”
Patience, waiting, and yes, even relinquishing a dream, allowed me to work with a great team. Bread Box Creative is the brainchild of Eryn and Grayson Lynum. Who knows, perhaps those weeks of prayer was just the ticket for getting their dream to fruition, too.
“…the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws
but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye…”
“Goodbye, Wild Things.” Of course, there will be days of procrastination. Sure, there will be moments of uncertainty and busyness. Peacefully, for now, I’ve said, “Good-bye,” to one major wild thing.
Thank you, Eryn.
1Sendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. New York: Harper & Row, 1963.
2Marshall, Catherine. Adventures in Prayer. Old Tappan: Chosen Books, 1975.